Difference Between Analog Computer and Digital Computer

By Aina Parasher|Updated : April 27th, 2022

Difference between Analog Computer and Digital Computer: Analog computers were formerly widely used, but are now less popular. Analog computers function with continuous signals, but digital computers can only work with discrete signals. In the below-mentioned sections, we will see what are analog computers, digital computers, and the basic difference between analog computer and digital computer.

The way they handle and process data is the primary difference between analog computers and digital computers. Digital computers work by receiving and processing data in binary form (0 and 1), whereas analog computers work indefinitely, regardless of input variables such as temperature or current.

Table of Content

What is an Analog Computer?

An analog computer system is a very ancient computer system that operates on mathematical variables in the form of constantly changing physical quantities/entities. They work on analog signals because they employ continuous values rather than discrete values. These computers were utilized for the first time in the 1950s. Analog computers are restricted in their ability to tolerate issues and can never be exceedingly precise.

An analog computer is a form of computer that operates constantly, regardless of the input fluctuations. Instability in current, temperature, electric, and mechanical parts are examples of these variances. Thermostats and thermometers are the greatest examples of analog computers.

Characteristics of Analog Computers

Analog computers are used mainly in Engineering and Scientific applications. Let us check the characteristics of analog computers are listed below.

  • They have high power consumption.
  • They are less reliable than digital computers.
  • These computers use signal generators and a network of resistors and capacitors.
  • They have very low or limited memory. 
  • The speed of analog computers is comparatively low.

What is a Digital Computer?

The digital computer is a type of computer that accepts and computes binary-formatted data. The digital computer also receives and processes data in a distinct fashion. As a result, the input might be made up of characters or binary numbers.

The binary code is made up of two digits: 0 and 1. The digital computer can perform various tasks just by manipulating and counting these digits. Supercomputers, Personal computers, and Minicomputers are all examples of digital computers.

Characteristics of Digital Computers

Digital computers operate on data in binary codes, using only two digits 0 and 1. By using these digits, digital computers can perform various activities and regulate operations. Further, let us check the characteristics of these computers mentioned below.

  • They have huge memory and can store a large amount of data.
  • They produce numbers as outputs.
  • These computers have low power consumption.
  • They are more reliable than analog computers.

What is the Difference Between Analog Computer and Digital Computer?

Along with the functions of these two types of computers, there is a lot of other difference between these two. Here, let us discuss the difference between analog computer and digital computer in the table given below.

Analog ComputerDigital Computer
The speed of these computers is low.Digital computers are relatively faster. 
Continuous values are used in analog computers, and these systems handle continuous data. These sorts of systems process discrete data or deal with discrete values in digital computers.
It depends upon physical variations.It does not depend upon physical variations.
Analog computers provide less accurate results.Digital computers provide more accurate results.
They have high power consumption.They have low power consumption.
They are used in engineering and scientific fields.These are used in almost every field.
Analog computers are not easy to use.Digital computers are easy to use.

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FAQs

  • The basic difference between analog computers and digital computers is that analog computers employ a wide range of values to display information, whereas digital computers use a discrete or discontinuous set of values.

  • Digital computers are the most widely used computers that process information in the form of digits using 0 and 1. These types of computers are quick and re-programmable. These include laptops, computers, and supercomputers.

  • Analog computers are the oldest form of computers. These computers are not discrete and are continuous in nature. Thermometer, speedometer, seismometer, voltmeter, etc. are the examples of analog computers.

  • On the basis of storage, the difference between analog computers and digital computers is provided below.

    • Analog computers have extremely little or no memory and can only store a limited amount of data.
    • A digital computer has a vast memory and can store a lot of information.
  • Based on data manipulation, the difference between analog computers and digital computers is-

    • Computers that manipulate data in binary form are known as digital computers. i.e. 0 and 1.
    • Computers that operate with natural events are known as analog computers.

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